New resources to help bring about equality of access to childcare for disabled children
The Family and Childcare Trust has today launched new, free resources for parents and providers/practitioners to help families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to access a childcare system in England that currently serves far too many of them poorly.
The resources contain a guide for parents – including a section about how to complain and appeal if they are denied access to childcare – and a guide for childcare providers setting out how they can make their services more inclusive for the hundreds of thousands of children with additional needs in England.
Stephen Dunmore, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said: “Today, too many children with special educational needs or disabilities are missing out on the benefits of early education, after-school childcare, and holiday clubs, and too many parents cannot work because of lack of access to affordable, quality childcare for their children.
“We want parents and childcare providers to use these resources to help them bridge the equality gap that is preventing many families from moving out of poverty, and denying children with additional needs their right to enjoy early education and play opportunities.”
The Family and Childcare Trust was commissioned to develop these resources by the Department for Education following a Parliamentary Inquiry into Childcare for Disabled Children. The Inquiry found:
- Parent carers are often charged higher than average fees: 86% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey reported paying £5 or more per hour, with 38% paying £11-20 and 5% paying more than £20. This compares to the national averages of around £3.50 – 4.50 per hour.
- 41% of parent carers who responded to the Inquiry’s survey said their children did not access the full 15 hours of the free entitlement for early education for three and four year olds.
- 33% of parent carers say that the lack of experienced staff was the reason for not accessing childcare, echoing concerns evident in the Childcare and early years survey of parents 2012-2013.
- 92% of parent carers say finding childcare for disabled children is more difficult than for non-disabled children.
The new resources can be accessed and downloaded at www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/childcare-children-special-educational-needs-and-disabilities
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